The satire website Nerd News may be in hot water over a fake news story.
Numerous sites around the web publish satirical news, The Onion being the best known, that can occasionally be treated as a serious story if taken out of context or the reader is unaware. Such is the case of a Nerd News story on Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle getting into a fistfight.
The fake story said Labelle had been arrested and charged with assault and battery on Franklin explaining that "The singers were in Atlanta for an R&B/Soul concert on March 20th when they ran into each other backstage. Labelle was still fuming from a recent run-in with Franklin at the White House for the “Women of Soul” concert. While Aretha Franklin was making her way to the stage, Labelle extended her hand to greet the ‘Respect’ singer, when she threw epic shade in an effort to avoid her. The two exchanged obscenities after the event and parted ways."
The article went on to say that the two met again and "Labelle attempted to approach Franklin to resolve their outstanding issues, but Franklin once again turned up her nose. Onlookers say Labelle quickly removed her wig and earrings as she approached Franklin. Aretha, knowing that the removal of earrings is a tell-tale sign that a fight is about to ensue, attempted to prepare herself for the confrontation. Franklin was quickly struck with a Mayweather style right and left and stumbled backwards, landing awkwardly. Bystanders subdued Labelle and escorted her outside of the venue. Franklin suffered only minor injuries."
The problem is, someone saw the story and missed the disclaimer at the bottom of the page of it being satire and ran with it. From there, it started to spread across the internet as a true news story.
Franklin had to issue a statement that said "I’ve never heard anything crazier—regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting on March 20, in Atlanta. On March 20, I was in New York City readying for my birthday patty (Sorry. LOL. Laughing at my typo error). I meant PARTY, which we all had one fabulous time. Patti and I are cool and we always have been. I enjoyed her at the White House. Classic Patti."
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Franklin was thinking quite as cordially about the situation as she may have portrayed, filing a $10 million defamation of character lawsuit against the site. She has also issued a further statement saying "The stories were not presented as satire or humor. It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way—defamation of character."
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